4/08/2015

ABBA-How many records did ABBA sell?



2010: ABBA's Frida and Bjorn are given are honored for selling 375 million units!







How many ABBA records have been sold?  In 2010, ABBA’s estimable record label, Universal, gave ABBA an award for having sold 375 million singles and albums. This figure does not include record sales from Mamma  Mia! and other solo material.  This 375 million sales figure has not been verified independently. A sales total like that (if it were true) would put them in   top five record sellers of all time. However, the people at Universal didn’t just go to their computers and meticulously    add up sales of every ABBA record, no, no   they likely took prior announced figures and simply added to them.     For example- in the 1990’s Stig Anderson estimated ABBA’s sales at 250 million copies. So add some to that number and you might get to 375 million.    Stig was probably the only person in the position to truly know what their sales were, but he also had the incentive to hype their figures. Stig did not dispute it when ABBA’s American label, Atlantic Records made the dubious claim in 1978 that ABBA were the largest selling recording artists in the history of recorded music.  

   Wikipedia is one of few bodies   daring or foolish enough to try answer the question of who the world’s biggest selling music acts are.   It’s not a easy task.  There are so many countries-and so little hard information on sales prior to 1990’s. Wikipedia lists ABBA among the top 17 selling music acts based on “unverified’ claims of having   sold 200 million units or more.   And yet, they also downplay ABBA’s sales.  Wikipedia says that ABBA’s verifiable   sales certifications only equal 57 million units, a number that places ABBA much lower in the list of best selling artists. (Wikipedia does acknowledge that this lowball number emphasizes sales captured in the post 1991   Soundscan era-when most record sales  are tallied by computer). Can we verify Universal’s  375 million sales figure? During their active career, ABBA was highly successful in most nearly every market they competed in, with the notable exception of the United States. Despite this success, ABBA’s eight studio albums only sold about 50 million copies in total. (Acts really need success in the US market to ring up large tallies of album sales.) ABBA’s compilation albums including the megaseller ABBA Gold have sold approximately 80-100 million copies.  ABBA really does well in compilation sales-They have at least 12 compilation albums that have sold over a million copies. Still, adding up, on your own, all their sales certifications and adding generously for records that didn’t go gold- you would have trouble getting past 175,000,000 in unit  sales for long playing records. Counting up their sales by country-is especially fruitless.  In  steady, but usually unspectacular ,Great Britain, for example, you add up their all their sales and even guessing generously you do not get any more than 35  million sales in total . In the small, but one time ABBA crazy Australian market, I came up with about  8- 12 million units in total.  In the world’s biggest record market-the United States they sold a pathetic total of maybe 14 to 20 million records.  Germany? Only 10-20 million. I’m up to 82 million and I’m running out of big markets.-I’m not going to get close to 375 million.  What if  we add singles sales to the totals? The charts on the next two pages gives some idea of what ABBA’s singles sales might be.   The total number of sales for all ABBA singles is likely to range from 60  to 80  million units. So what’s our grand total for    albums and singles? Maybe, 200 to 250 million units?  So where are all those extra millions in sales coming from? Could it be a series of hyped sales estimates that have been enshrined over time? Or maybe the source is    sales   from record clubs (not always included in certifications), sales from obscure countries and so on and on.

 ABBA  music  has been around over 40 years, they have released over 100 compilations and  sold records in a 100 or more territories and you know that kind of thing (even in small amounts) does add up over time.  ABBA is a uniquely universal group, selling or having their music stolen in every conceivable market. ABBA were popular in the heyday in even less traditional markets like Japan, Latin America, Eastern Europe, the Philippines, and nowadays in places like China and Korea. We just can’t nail down a total sales numbers.
Maybe Universal (and its predecessors) secretly sold millions of records in Mongolia. I guess will never know. 
 

COMPARATIVE Overall ABBA PERFORMANCE IN MAJOR MARKETS (tabulated   from Trent Nickson's ABBA charts)
#1 ALBUMS

Sweden 9
Norway 9
United Kingdom 9
Belgium 8
Germany 7
Netherlands 7
Austria 5
Australia 4
New Zealand 4
France 3
Spain 1
Mexico 1
Argentina 1
Japan 1
Canada 1
United States 0
South Africa 0
 Italy 0

#1 Singles

Belgium 14
Ireland 12
Germany 9
United Kingdom 9
Netherlands 8
South Africa 8
Australia 6
New Zealand 6
 Sweden 3
France 3
Austria 3
Norway 2 
Argentina 1
Spain 1
Mexico 1
United States 1
Canada 0
Japan 0
Italy 0

Top 10 singles

South Africa 26
Belgium 24
Netherlands 24
Germany 21
Norway20
Austria 20
United Kingdom 19
Ireland 19
Australia 16
New Zealand 13
Sweden 12
France 12
Spain 7
Canada 8
Argentina 5
United States 4
Italy 3
Mexico 2
Japan 0




SOME  fun ABBA Sales FACTS and figures! 
   UK-ABBA had the most #1 albums in row (a total tied with Led Zeppelin) in the United Kingdom. The Official Charts Company says they are among the top ten all time acts for single sales in the UK.   ABBA Gold was the #1 album  at three different times in the UK.  Mamma Mia is the biggest selling movie DVD in UK history. The word Abba appears three times in the new testament. 
   USA-ABBA was the first Swedish group to chart in the USA, but only the second Swedish group to make the top 40 or go to number one on the single chart.  They have the most American top 40 hits of any Swedish group.  ABBA Gold has sold more copies in the USA than in any other country (6 to 8 million).The Mamma Mia soundtrack is the only ABBA related album to top the American Top 200 album charts. ABBA had only # 1 single in the USA.  Fellow Swede Max Martin has written  19 American #1's.
   Oceania-Best of ABBA is considered the biggest selling album in New Zealand history, and this album  used to (and some say still does ) have that title in Australia.  Four of ABBA albums are certified 10x platinum in Australia. “Fernando” was number one for 14 (or15) weeks in a Australia , the longest number of weeks ever for any single.
   ABBA Gold-ABBA Gold is among the top five selling albums ever in Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, New Zealand   This record is ABBA biggest selling album with over 29 million copies sold. 
    Sweden-Arrival and The Album are both said (not verified) to have sold   700,000 copies each in Sweden. ABBA ( 1975) and ABBA Gold have sold around 500,000 copies in Sweden. Sweden has only nine million people.  Agnetha and Frida each had   three number albums in Sweden. BAO had two number albums, the Chess concept album and the Mamma Mia soundtrack also went to number one.
   Japan: The Voulez-Vous album sold nearly 1,000, 000 copies. Belgium- From 1976 to 1980 their  singles never charted below #2 on the BRT.
  Overall-ABBA had 25 different songs   hit #1 on at least one national chart (source: Ian Cole from Trent Nickson)

Bggest selling ABBA albums worldwide  AS of 2013 (Albums selling at least 500,000 or more copies)
  Chart  is adapted from UKMix, Johnny Boy, MC Dangerous, Guillaume(Fan of Music)  and  Trent Nickson


1. Gold – Greatest Hits (1992) – 29,000,000 or more!
2. Greatest Hits (1975/6) -11,500,000
3. Arrival (1976)- 11,500,000
4. The Album (1978) : 8,000, 000
5. Super Trouper (1980) -7,500,000
6. Voulez-Vous (1979)  - 7,500,000
7. Greatest Hits Volume 2 (1979) -6,500,000
8. The Visitors (1981) -4,500, 000
9. The Definitive Collection (2002)  - 2,500,000
10.More Abba Gold – More Abba Hits (1993)  - 2,500,000
11.ABBA (1975) – 2,500.000
12.The Singles (The First Ten Years) (1982)- 2,500,000
13.Best Of (1975)-2,500,000
14.Waterloo (1974)  -2.000.000
15.K-tel’s Magic of ABBA (1980)  - 2,000,000
16. The Millennium Collection (2000)  -1,500,000
17. Music Goes On (1996)  - 1,200,000
18. Masters Collection (1996)  - 1,200,000
19.Name of the Game  (2002) – 1,200,000
20. SOS – The Best Of ABBA (2001)  - 800,000
21.A Van ABBA / A Wie ABBA (1981) – 800,000
22. 18 Hits (2006) – 750,000
23. Number Ones (2006) – 750,000
24.Gracias Por La Musica (1980)  -700,000
25.Forever Gold (1996)  - 700,000 to 900,000
26. Oro(1993)- 700,000 ?
27. Ring Ring(1973)- 700,000?

There are at that least another 24 ABBA albums that have  sold over 100,000 copies each


Largest selling ABBA singles....




Sales estimates of Biggest selling ABBA Singles  



Dancing Queen - 6,500,000
Fernando - 6,000,000
Waterloo - 5,500,000
Chiquitita - 4,700,000
Take a Chance on Me - 4,200,000
Money, Money, Money - 4,000,000
S.O.S. - 4,000,000
Gimme Gimme Gimme - 3,900,000
Mamma Mia - 3,500,000
Knowing Me, Knowing You - 3,300,000
The Winner Takes It All - 3,000,000
I Do, I Do, I Do - 2,500,000
Super Trouper - 2,300,000
Summer Night City - 2,000,000
I Have a Dream - 1,600,000
The Name of the Game - 1,500,000
One of Us - 1,500,000
Voulez-Vous - 1,400,000
Honey, Honey - 1,000,000
Ring, Ring - 800,000
Does Your Mother Know - 600,000
Eagle - 350,000
So Long - 250,000
Hasta Mañana - 200,000
On and On and On - 100,000
(ABBA’s remaining 17 major singles presumably sold less than 100,000 copies each.
Total: 64,800,000

Main Source:Joel at Media Source



Highest Charting Abba Hits using different chart ranking methodologies



Weighted to large markets

1. Dancing Queen 1976
2. Fernando 1976
3 Waterloo 1974
4 Take a Chance on Me 1978
5 The Winner Takes it All 1980
6 Knowing Me Knowing You 1977
7 Money, Money, Money
8 SOS 1975
9 Chiquitita 1979
10 Super Trouper 1980

(Source:ABBA record sales)
Includes Spanish markets

1. Dancing Queen (1976)
2. Chiquitita 1979
3. Fernando (1976) (1979)
4. The Winner Takes it All (1980)
5. Knowing Me, Knowing You (1977)
 6. Waterloo (1974)
 7. Take a Chance on Me (1978)
8. Super Trouper (1980)
 9. The Name of the game (1977)
10. One of Us (1981)

(Source :skid)


See also:
Kiss and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Who really belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 

11 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. well it's really interesting this article, but i see some wrongs, for example in Mexico habba has 9 numbers one, "Fernando" sold record 10 millions and Waterloo 6, Arrival, The Album, Voulez vous and Super Trouper (albums) sold more than 15 million according to the wikipedia Same certifications Showing some countries like China.
    The ABBA 40th anniversary video (ON YOU TUBE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27TGkADStbw ) detailing ABBA had 111 singles number one 76 number one albums , and finally sold 370 million albums , 1980 ABBA entry into Guinness record by selling 180 million sold record in six years , finally said to have sold Billboard 400 million...

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  4. A French fellow called Eric has carefully worked out the Global No.1 Singles of many Acts. He gets 131 International No.1 Singles for ABBA - or 20 more than the 40th Anniversary You Tube Video gives them. They actually had 132 Global No.1 Singles. Eric uses the wrong Chart for Canada. The Chart that he uses says that 'Dancing Queen' was a No.2 Hit. In fact it spent 2 Weeks at No.1 in the 'Official' Canadian Charts in 1977.

    You can get even more Global ABBA No.1 Singles, if you use the BRT Chart for Belgium. They had 16 No.1 Singles in that Chart - to 14 in the Belgian Humo Chart. They had 11 No.1 Singles in the UK's New Musical Express Chart, as both 'Chiquitita' & 'One Of Us' were No.1 Hits in that Chart. They reached No.2 & No.3 in the 'Official' UK Charts, where ABBA had 9 No.1 Singles.

    Eric's Global ABBA Singles Data

    http://artisteschartsventes.blogspot.co.uk/

    The 'Official' Canadian No.1 Singles of 1977:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_number-one_singles_of_1977_(Canada)

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  5. Interesting hadn't seen that !

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  6. Felpin - As I expected, there will be a 25th Anniversary Edition of 'ABBA Gold'. The 25th Anniversary is not until September, but it is being commemorated in June, for some reason. Although there are 'Alternative Versions' of several ABBA Hits, Benny & Bjorn will not let the Fans, (or Universal Music), have them. So, the 25th Anniversary Edition, of 'ABBA Gold', is just the same old 19 Tracks. It is a 2 Disk Vinyl Album 'Set'. The only 'gimmick' is that it is on 'Gold' Vinyl - although it looks like a weird shade of Green to me.
    Here is a Link, so you can see what Fans think of it - and see photos of it:

    http://abbachat.com/thread/813/gold-album-25th-anniversary-release

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  7. Most of the record sales only tracked the first year they were released.

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  8. Greatest hits vol 2 was Number 1 in Canada accord to Billboard

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    Replies
    1. You are correct-I will change that!

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